I probably should have known better when I started down this path with “cracking” a certain flash game. This has taken way more of my time than I had initially planned. On the other hand, now I know how to use Adobe Flash Builder, Adobe Flex SDK, XML schemas and JAXB and brushed up on my Java as well.
My previous versions of the cheat consisted of a Mozilla Firefox extension which redirected requests for the game SWF (and data.xml, a configuration file) to my server. The server (configured as a HTTP proxy) sent back an older version of the game SWF, which still had some debugging code left in which allowed you to edit the game board using hotkeys. The game developer has once changed the MD5 salt used to calculate validation checksums (after removing the debugging code), but I got away with it once by uncompressing (gzip) the SWF file, hex-editing the salt, and compressing it back. However, the latest build of the game was obfuscated, so no such tricks would pass this time.
In retrospect (as I wrote on the cheat page), I could have used simpler techniques such as memory editing and replay attacks, but all these could eventually be “patched up”. It would probably even have been simpler if I had written a bot (or just updated the old one) – there really isn’t much to do against screen-scraping bots, other than heuristics and changing the UI every once in a while. Still, I have written an ActionScript 3 deobfuscator.